The Candle- January 2024

Hello Holly,

President Message

"Women's networks are a necessary part of life. A mixture of empathy and brainstorming can move mountains.”

– Hazel Hawke

For those of you who don’t know me, and I hope to change that by the end of my term, I love quotes. This particular quote comes to mind every time I am asked the question, why do we need to be part of a sisterhood or women’s organization like WRJ? Part of that answer is hard to describe in words. For me, It is the excitement I feel when I come to any of our in-person gatherings and hug

those women whom I have worked with and become friends with from afar; it is participating in our women’s services, locking arms, and reciting prayers lifting women and sisterhood and dancing with unbridled joy to Miriam’s Song; it is sharing the passion to make the world more just for all, with others who share my Jewish values. It is knowing that if we don’t work together to fight for workplace equity, access to all health care, and protection from violence, nobody will. It is a safe space that allows me to express my emotions without compromising my intellect or being taken seriously. Together with you, my voice is amplified.

But there is a practical side to belonging too. It is no secret that finding volunteers to do the bigger jobs is getting harder. By brainstorming and sharing ideas with other groups in our area, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Why not replicate a known successful program for the ladies in your group? Or look to WRJ and MAD for no-cost speakers (except transportation to in-person meetings) on a variety of topics. Have an idea for a program that is a little too rich for your budget? Why not see if the sisterhoods in close geographic proximity will split the cost and elevate the program to an area day? Or consider asking MAD to co-sponsor or see if there are any grants available. Many possibilities exist. How can we help you? How can we provide you with the needed tools, resources, and support? Let’s build our organizations together.

Sending warm thoughts your way,


A Thought-Provoking Program Exploring our Conflicting Feelings about the use of Violence in the Israel-Hamas War (Zoom)

Sunday, February 4th at 7:00

The way of Elijah or the way of Elisha:

The Difference between Security as Peace vs. Sustainable Peace in avoiding WWIII

In this talk, Dr. Francis Flannery draws on her research on violence in the Tanakh, using the images of Eliahu and Elisha to paint two contrasting biblical approaches to remaining faithful to Judaism. The first, the way of Eliahu, accepts violence as a necessary route to practicing Judaism, while the other, the way of Elisha, laments his mentor’s violence and explores creative ways to actively wage peace as a spiritual activity that puts an end to war non-violently. The talk then moves from an interpretation of the Tanakh to an analysis of the present-day conflicts in the Israel-Hamas war. Without oversimplifying this tragic situation, Flannery draws on her research in religion and intelligence analysis (including on terrorism, the Iranian nuclear program, and countering violent extremism) as she explores some of the dynamics of the war, both outlining the nature of the terrorist threat posed by Hamas and carefully analyzing the dynamics surrounding Israel’s military response in Gaza. On the one hand, she stresses the urgent need to degrade Hamas’s capacities; on the other hand, she also examines the ethics of the manner in which Israel’s defense has unfolded and the systemic knock-on effects of the campaign in Gaza, which include impacts on the wider cycle of terrorism, rising anti-Semitism, declining world opinions of Israel, and possible/probable escalation into a regional conflict or even WWIII. Without offering any simplistic solutions for this messy and painful situation, the speaker concludes by stressing the need for us, as women of Reform Judaism, to co-create spaces for frank, safe, and careful tending to our complicated feelings about this violence, and she suggests that our leadership in offering the way of Elisha has never been more needed.  


MAD for Books and Wine (Zoom)

Monday, February 12th at 7:30

The Marriage of Opposites

by Alice Hoffman

This novel explores the Jewish Pomie/Pissarro family and the roots of the Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro.

“A luminous, Marquez-esque tale” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from the New York Times bestselling author of The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on a tropical island about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.


Mental Health & Wellness Workshop Series - Part 1 (Zoom)

Sunday, February 25th at 7:00

Hosted by WRJ Mid-Atlantic District and the Women of Temple B'nai Shalom

Do you often feel overwhelmed with everyday tasks? Are you stuck in your routine, or do you want to find a new path? Do you struggle with saying “no” to others, or finding time to do the things you enjoy and that can “refill your bucket”? 

Emotional intelligence, mental health, and mental wellness are all big words for understanding and managing your emotions, taking care of your mental state, and supporting and helping those around you. All three are essential in our interactions with family and friends and living a happy and healthy life.

Sneak Peek into the Workshop

  • What is Wellness?
  • How to Recognize Signs & Symptoms of Distress / Crisis
  • Complete a Personal Wellness Assessment (Will be sent out upon Registration)
  • Start a Wellness Plan

Join the WRJ District VP of Marketing & Communications, Dr. Holly Plotnick, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and founder of Tattooed Daisies, as she facilitates these workshops! For questions, contact 


Save the Date: Biblical Women Speak: Hearing Their Voices through New and Ancient Midrash (In-person)

Special Opportunity for Women* (and Men*) to Learn from Rabbi Marla J Feldman, WRJ Executive Director Emerita.

Sunday, March 3 from 10:00 – 2:00

Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, Virginia

Learn how our ancient tradition can provide meaning to our modern lives through midrash and the inspiring tales of biblical women during this unique program. In the first part of the day, Rabbi Feldman will provide an overview of her new book about feminist midrash and the biblical women whose stories continue to be relevant today. After a break for brunch, she will provide a deeper dive into the “sacred sisterhood” of the midwives Puah and Shiphrah and their heroic defiance of Pharaoh’s evil plan to kill the Israelite babies in the Exodus story. You will come away empowered to engage deeply with the biblical text and learn to read our sacred scriptures with “midrashic eyes”. 

Rabbi Marla Feldman is both a Reform rabbi (HUC-JIR) and a lawyer (JD, Univ. of Florida). Professionally, Rabbi Feldman has a long history serving the Reform Movement as the Executive Director Emerita of Women of Reform Judaism, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and Director of Development of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Previously she worked in the Jewish Community Relations field, serving communities in Detroit and Delaware and taught as adjunct faculty at the University of Detroit-Mercy and the Widener University College of Law in Wilmington, DE. She served congregations in Sarasota and Orlando, FL.

  • Registration will open on February 3, 2024 HERE ($32 fee includes brunch).
  • There is a 40% discount for those who pre-order the book HERE (There will be time for book signings).
  • * These gender definitions have been expanded to those who identify female, male, nonbinary or gender fluid.

WRJ Mid-Atlantic District URJ Camp Scholarships - Application Deadline February 15th

Do you know a first-time attendee going to a URJ Camp?

If so, Pay Attention!

Application Criteria:

  • First-time attendees of any URJ camp
  • Campers with a family connection to a Mid-Atlantic District member
  • Camper must reside within the Mid-Atlantic District
  • One scholarship per family per year
  • Scholarship will cover a maximum of 10% of camp registration
  • Camper agrees to share experiences with their local Jewish community

How to Apply:

  • Complete the application by February 15th. Link to application.
  • Recipients will be notified by March 1st!

Your copy should address 3 key questions: Who am I writing for? (Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action)

Create a great offer by adding words like "free" "personalized" "complimentary" or "customized." A sense of urgency often helps readers take an action, so think about inserting phrases like "for a limited time only" or "only 7 remaining"!

District General Board Meeting - Recap

A Little Bit of Business, A Little Bit of Fun – The Latest MAD In-Person Gathering

On January 14, approximately 50 women came together for a Mid-Atlantic District General Board Meeting that included an hour of entertainment with the Word Mavens. How wonderful to be together in person. It was exciting to welcome so many new women. We missed those of you who couldn’t be there. Your seat is saved for next time.

It was a glorious half-day together in suburban DC at Temple Beth Ami with representation from all corners of our District including Delaware, North Carolina, and West Virginia. I want to thank the army of women who stepped up to help: Jeanne Kahn, Rachel Maryn, Rhona Arbit, Flora Feldman, Betsey Hurwitz-Schwab, Rita Brickman, Marilyn Morrison, Ellen Miller, Judy Silver-Weisberg, Bernice Porrazzo (who also baked all of our breakfast items), Francine Thalheimer, Christie Vinson, HarrietAnn Litwin and all the other women who pitched in to set-up lunch, sell merchandise to benefit the YES Fund and clean-up. It does take a village. And a special shout-out to Philippa Hindman who started a YES Fund lifeline.

Love pictures? View these pictures by joining the district community on Mighty Networks HERE. (Pictures taken by Christie Vinson, our district social media chair, pictured above with Jeanette Astrow, our district corresponding secretary). If you took pictures, please post them here as well. And we love discussion. We welcome humorous remarks concerning the catering error – corned beef and white bread. White bread on its own? And we welcome you to suggest names for our new grants program. Right now, it is Inspiration for Innovation.

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WRJ Mid-Atlantic District

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